Butler Wins Wild Finish
May 20, 2007 | 1:19 P.M. EST
Such was the case Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway when Eddie Sharp Racing teammates' Ken Butler III and Michael McDowell, inside of five laps remaining, came together in turn one racing for lead. While McDowell spun completely around, Butler drove away to victory lane, winning the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care. It was Butler's career-first RE/MAX Series victory in his fourth series start.
"Man I hate it for Michael," said Butler. "We were racing for the lead and he checked up, and I got into him. I just want to thank all my guys, my crew chief Jeff McClure, Domino's Pizza. Eddie Sharp Racing does an awesome job."
Butler's victory marked the eighth different winner in eight events so far in 2007, and sixth first-time winner of the season.
McDowell followed Butler in the remaining laps before making his move up off turn two on the 195th circuit. McDowell, without touching the eventual winner, completed the pass off turn four and led the next lap. However, his lead was short-lived when Butler plowed into the back of McDowell in turn one.
"I can't believe it," said McDowell. "I passed him clean down there, and then he flat plowed into me. He didn't just hit me; he lifted me off the ground and stayed in it until I was turned around. I want to congratulate him, but that's no way to win a race."
McDowell, in the Z Line-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge, managed to stay on the lead lap and finished seventh.
In the end, and without McDowell in the leader mix, Butler had to fend off Ken Schrader, who finished second in his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. The margin of victory was .239 seconds.
"I just hate to see races end that way," said Schrader, who seemed as upset as McDowell. "That is clearly not the way to win a race; it's just not right."
Justin South, in the HD Supply Lumber & Building Materials Dodge, only pitted once on lap 75 and finished third on the heels of Schrader.
"We had a good racecar," said South. "The HD Supply Dodge was really good on long runs and I think we would have had something for the leaders if we would have had tires at the end."
Frank Kimmel, who wrecked his primary car in practice, finished fourth in a back-up Hantz Group-Pork Ford Fusion.
"I'm pretty happy considering the weekend we had," said Kimmel. "We had a great car. We were really good on the long runs; just had too many restarts at the end there."
Bobby Gerhart, in the Lucas Oil Chevrolet, earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award after finishing fifth from the 22nd starting position.
McDowell, who led the most laps with 59, also earned his fourth career SIM Factory Pole Award Saturday afternoon with a time of 16.544, an average speed of 108.801 mph.
In all, there were seven lead changes among six different drivers including, in addition to McDowell, Kimmel (57), Schrader (46), Butler (25), Justin Allgaier (10) and South (3).
Second-generation racers' Brian Keselowski, in the AT&T Yellow Pages Dodge, and Billy Leslie, in the Titan Tire Ford, had good days finishing sixth and eighth respectively. Mike Buckley finished ninth in the St. Croix Chippewa Pontiac with Billy Venturini trailing in tenth in the Bondo-Hawk Saw Blades Chevrolet.
The race had its share of typical short-track thrills and spills with 14 cautions for 78 laps. While there were several wrinkled racecars to load up, there were no injuries.
From Toledo, the ARCA RE/MAX Series takes a Memorial Day Weekend break but is back in action on Saturday, June 2, 2007 for the Prairie Meadows 250 at Iowa Speedway live on SPEED at 9 pm ET.